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"Canada can, within a positive friendly atmosphere, ask the Chinese government to resolve the Tibetan situation."

Olympic Torch Protesters Scale Golden Gate Bridge

April 9, 2008

Eye On Blogs: Comment On SF Torch Flap

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS 5 / KCBS / AP / BCN) ? Three people protesting
China's human rights record and the impending arrival of the Beijing
Olympic torch climbed up the Golden Gate Bridge Monday and tied the
Tibetan flag and two banners to its cables.

The banners read "One World, One Dream. Free Tibet" and "Free Tibet '08."

One of the climbers was Laurel Sutherlin from the San Francisco
Bay area. Speaking to CBS 5 live via his cell phone while hanging from a
bridge cable, Sutherlin said he and his fellow climbers were urging the
International Olympic Committee to ask China not to allow the torch to
go through Tibet.

"We're demanding that the International Olympic committee immediately
removes Tibet from the torch relay route," added Kate Waznow, campaign
manager for Students of Free Tibet, which staged the demonstration.

The protesters wore helmets and harnesses as they made their way up the
cables running next to the south tower of the famed span that connects
the city of San Francisco to Marin County.

The climb had the group suspended about 150 feet above traffic, said
Mary Ziegenbien, a spokeswoman with the California Highway Patrol.

Ziegenbien said for safety reasons, authorities did not try to get the
protesters down. They waited for the trio to climb down on their own
about 1 p.m. before arresting them.

"We didn't want to put their lives in danger by going and grabbing them
off the suspension cables," she said.

The three climbers were arrested on felony charges, according to CHP
Officer Trent Cross. Four additional people detained on the walkway were
also involved in the incident an are facing charges too, he said.

Police said the group of seven protesters were on the bridge at 11:15
a.m.; three of the group members then went climbing on the cables of the
bridge to hang the banner.

Golden Gate Bridge Spokeswoman Marry Currie said that metal workers
later used skyboxes to cut down the banners.

One northbound lane of the bridge was closed from the toll plaza to the
south tower during the demonstration, which backed up and snarled
traffic in the area. Sidewalks on the bridge were also closed until
after workers removed the banners.

The protest comes two just days before the Olympic torch relay reaches
San Francisco, its only North American stop.

China has been called to task over its treatment of Tibet ever since the
torch was lit.

The torch path around the globe already has been marked by protests
against China's policies toward Tibet and Sudan. In Paris, organizers
canceled the final leg of the Olympic run after chaotic protests,
snuffing out the torch and putting it aboard a bus.

Rallies, vigils and news conferences related to the torch's arrival have
taken place in San Francisco almost daily for the past several weeks.
More are planned over the next two days in anticipation of the torch's
arrival.

About 80 torchbearers will carry the flame on a six mile route along the
bay.
CTC National Office 1425 René-Lévesque Blvd West, 3rd Floor, Montréal, Québec, Canada, H3G 1T7
T: (514) 487-0665   ctcoffice@tibet.ca
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